The night before he was elected, Tony Abbott promised “no cuts to the ABC or SBS.” Now, months after announcing a $44 million funding cut to the ABC in the budget, the government has commissioned a review, with the help of ex-Seven West Media Limited CFO Peter Lewis, to examine the day-to-day costs of running ABC and SBS, and “propose options to increase efficiency and reduce expenses.”
ABC managing director Mark Scott has already stated that the budget means employee redundancies and cuts to services. This new review may mean the loss of hundreds more jobs, the selling off of studios to the private sector, shutting down SBS in Melbourne and the introduction of fees for the online service, iView.
Debate has since ensued over how this will affect ABC programming, and whether or not TV shows that people like will be axed. Regardless of the effect on programming, this attack means not only the loss of jobs, but a push towards the privatisation of the ABC, and away from any public control over Australian media.
The Community and Public Sector Union must join with the wider anti-budget movement and lead industrial action against any attacks on the ABC.
By Toby Dite